Setting an alarm for 4.45am to eat breakfast with your eyes shut just seems a weird way to wake up and start a Sunday morning but that’s what marathon runners do and it is oddly satisfying. At 7.45am we took a stroll to the start area from the hotel through the Tiergarten Park. Berlin is an amazing place with so much going on. I did my year out in Germany for my uni course so it is always good to come back.
The weather was perfect with the sun shining and very little wind. Today was also exciting because Nick was also running the race with me and secretly I wanted to test him out.
The atmosphere at the start was great and there were some great tunes playing. I found myself standing at the front of 40000 people ready to run 26.2 miles. Although I was really nervous I wanted to enjoy this moment, this is what all that hard training was for and I had made it to the start line. All I had to do now was to run the best I could. A couple of days before the race I read a great quote on the Runners Centre FB page which really stuck in my head:
“The human body is capable of amazing physical deeds. If we could just free ourselves from our perceived limitations and tap into our internal fire, the possibilities are endless.”
I had worked a lot on my mental preparation going into this race. Having to pull out of the race in the later stages was a very realistic scenario if my leg was playing up but one I would not let myself think about. I tried to focus on the process and not the outcome, getting to the next drinks station was the only thought in my head. Speaking of drinks stations, it was a good job I had my race head on, I ended up in a few scuffs with a couple of blokes trying to get to my drink.
Anna Hahner, a new talented German marathon runner was looking to run sub 2.30 and had a few pace makers lined up to take her through each point in the race on pace. This was ideal as I planned to go with this group as long as possible. As I passed through each drinks station and the crowds shouted encouragement I felt more at ease that I was going to do this. My legs didn’t feel fantastic today but I wasn’t having a bad day either. We reached half way in 74.22 and I felt comfortable.
With 14k to go my leg was tightening up and I was slipping off the back of Anna’s group. I had to start digging deep and remind myself of the quote. I was ready for this and determined to fight to the line. Nick was running a great race and on this occasion I was unable to run him into the ground. In fact, he was annoyingly very relaxed the whole way with enough energy to shout at me for the last 2k. This time I didn’t tell him where to go but used it to fire me up! As we came through the Brandenburg Gate the finish line was in sight. . and the clock! I had to push this last 150m to break 2.31.
It is always a fantastic feeling to run a personal best but also a relief that you completed the course as there are so many things that can go wrong even when you are 100% fit and healthy. So to all those marathon runners who ran – you achieved something amazing today! On reflection I am very happy with the performance and I know there is a lot of room for improvement. I’m looking forward to some down time to rest and recover and then planning the next target.
Disappointingly I didn’t do much dancing at the after party nor did I get to go on a beer bike (too tired to pedal) but I did get a picture with Geoffrey Mutai enjoying a glass of red wine.